A carry-over from the ancient past? 1000 year old technology?
The Hypocaust Hypocaustum
Pronunciation: (hī'pu-kôst", hip'u-), —n. a hollow
space or system of channels in the floor or walls of some ancient Roman
buildings that provided a central heating system by receiving and distributing
the heat from a furnace.
Today's radiant electric floor heating is truly a modern marvel
with unexpected long traditions. It is an invisible state-of-the-art system
yet based on quite an ancient idea.
Instead of a fire in each room, Romans had a special fire room
built against an outside wall. The floors were raised on pillars and the walls
of the villa were hollow. The heated air from the fire went to all the other
rooms, through these spaces under the floor and in the walls.
It was a very clever invention and after the Romans left, it
was centuries before the British people had central heating again.
hy·po·caust Latin hypocaustum comes from Greek
hupokauston “place heated from below”.
The Baths themselves came to represent Roman civilization. Even
though most of Rome was located in the mild or warm Mediterranean climate, Roman
Baths were heated with an ingenious system of floor heating - the
A - Furnace, B - Under floor heating chamber, C - Columns of
tiles supporting floor, D - Bridging tiles, E - Heated floors of the
room, F- Box shaped radiant heating elements.
For the Romans, bathing was not only a ritual but also an important
social event. The politics of the baths?
This is a picture of the hypocaust at Rockborne in Hampshire.
These pillars (red) held up the floor and allowed the hot air to circulate
underneath, heating the room.
Bingor, England. Roman villa.
Men's dressing room with heated floors in the Forum Baths in
Forum Baths, Pompeii, first century BCE. Caldarium.
Imperial Roman bath building was often the giant
complex which could house not only bathing facilities but lecture halls,
gymnasia, libraries and gardens. Roman bathing establishments usually provided
three kinds of baths, i.e., hot, tepid and cold. The room pictured here was
kept warm by hot exhaust circulating through pipes in the walls and